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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Feb 16, 2013 8:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Jerry a Lazy Songwriter?

Well, I was being really persnickety and just speaking for myself as to what I'd call Essential. But I can pretty easily take away even some on your list that I like fine but don't feel like they express the Heart of What's Great About the Dead (like GSET, Sat Night, St Circ). However, when looking at the Jerry/Hunter tunes, there's almost nothing in the category of "it's nice but, OK, if I have to winnow this down it can go." They almost ALL feel Essential.

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Poster: Death&Mercy Date: Feb 16, 2013 9:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Jerry a Lazy Songwriter?

I agree that neither GSET nor St Cir were great tunes in their own right, but each acted as a vehicle to bring out the best in the Dead in their respective periods. How much credit should we give Weir? I guess you could argue that if he had not written the songs, something else just as good might very well have popped up instead. You could probably say the same about a song like TOO (you really can't make that case when it comes to Jerry's best stuff).

Anyway, good discussion.

GSET: http://archive.org/details/gd72-09-28.sbd.bill.12657.sbeok.shnf

St Circumstance: http://archive.org/details/gd81-05-06.glassberg.vernon.17697.sbeok.shnf

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Feb 16, 2013 8:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Jerry a Lazy Songwriter?

Definitely. But you could also say that about LLR, LL/Supp, Stranger ... actually even PITB. The basic Main Ten theme wasn't written by Weir (or at least I don't think it was; it seems to emerge in a jam), and IMO that's the best part of what's "written."

Basically he has a few moments of individual brilliance (TOO, Sugar Mag) that became inseperably definitive of the Dead, but much of what he wrote pre-80s was interesting mainly because it became a great jam vehicle. So he was doing in songwriting what he did with the band: support the others in a perfect way.

You make a good point that if they didn't have Weir's songs -- his "hooks to hang the musical hat on," basically -- they'd have been doing what? Waiting for Godot? Lesh wasn't going to write. Jerry definitely WAS writing during the time that Weir produced the jam vehicles, and he was writing a lot, but the Dead musical machine was a hungry one. "New every night" means too much of everything isn't even quite enough.

So they needed a lot, and pre-80s, both Bob and Jerry stepped up to the plate and produced a lot. Jerry's stand up on their own as melodies, whereas Bob's tend to work best as vehicles for the others. So he's a fantastic contender for Best Supporting Player. He's Sam Gamgee to Jerry's ... well, I guess Jerry wouldn't really be Frodo.

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Poster: Uncle_John Date: Feb 17, 2013 11:18pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Jerry a Lazy Songwriter?

Althea -

Maybe Jerry was more Bilbo than Frodo in that he reluctantly became the leader of the mission but, after finding the ring, was consumed and destroyed by it.

Bob doesn't fit well into the Bilbo scenario.

- John